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Prophecy Today Q&A: ""Will there be a second chance for salvation after the Rapture?"

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"Answering the Questions in Prophecy Biblically"

Question: "Who is the antichrist?"



Answer: 
There is much speculation about the identity of the Antichrist. Some of the more popular targets are Vladimir Putin, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Pope Benedict XVI. In the United States, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and current President Barack Obama, are the most frequent candidates. So, who is the Antichrist, and how will we recognize him?

The Bible really does not say anything specific about where the Antichrist will come from. Many Bible scholars speculate that he will come from a confederacy of ten nations and/or a reborn Roman empire (Daniel 7:24-25Revelation 17:7). Others see him as having to be a Jew in order to claim to be the Messiah. It is all just speculation since the Bible does not specifically say where the Antichrist will come from or what race he will be. One day, the Antichrist will be revealed. Second Thessalonians 2:3-4 tells us how we will recognize the Antichrist: “Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”

It is likely that most people who are alive when the Antichrist is revealed will be very surprised at his identity. The Antichrist may or may not be alive today. Martin Luther was convinced that the pope in his time was the Antichrist. During the 1940’s, many believed Adolph Hitler was the Antichrist. Others who have lived in the past few hundred years have been equally sure as to the identity of the Antichrist. So far, they have all been incorrect. We should put the speculations behind us and focus on what the Bible actually says about the Antichrist. Revelation 13:5-8 declares, “The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.”

Yes! Jesus is Coming!


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Prophecy Today Q&A: ""Will there be a second chance for salvation after the Rapture?"

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"Answering the Questions in Prophecy Biblically"


Question: "Will there be a second chance for salvation after the Rapture?"



Answer:
 Some Bible interpreters believe that there will be no second chance for salvation after the Rapture. However, there is no place in the Bible which says this or even hints to it. There will be many people who come to Christ during the Tribulation. The 144,000 Jewish witnesses (Revelation 7:4) are Jewish believers. If no one can come to Christ during the Tribulation, then why are people being beheaded for their faith (Revelation 20:4)? No passage of Scripture argues against people having a second chance after the Rapture. Many passages indicate the opposite.

A variation of this argument is that those who have heard the Gospel and rejected it before the Rapture cannot be saved, but those who had not heard the Gospel before the rapture can be saved. There is also no biblical justification for this view. Granted, most who were hard-hearted toward the Gospel before the Rapture are likely to remain so. The Antichrist will deceive many (Matthew 24:5). Many will believe the lies (2 Thessalonians 2:11). At the same time, there is no scriptural evidence that those who rejected the Gospel before the Rapture have no opportunity for salvation after the Rapture.

In fact, there is ample evidence of the opposite. The fifth seal judgment of Revelation 6:9-11describes the souls of those martyred during the Tribulation “because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained.” They will correctly interpret what they see going on around them during the Tribulation, calling on people to repent and believe the Gospel. The Antichrist and his followers will not tolerate this and will kill them. These are people who must have been alive before the Rapture, but who were not believers until afterward. Therefore, there will be opportunity to come to Christ after the Rapture.

Yes! Jesus is Coming!


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Prophecy Today Q&A: ""What is the Millennial Kingdom, and should it be understood literally?

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Question: "What is the Millennial Kingdom, and should it be understood literally?"



Answer: 
The millennial kingdom is the title given to the 1000-year reign of Jesus Christ on the earth. Some seek to interpret the 1000 years in an allegorical manner. Some understand the 1000 years as merely a figurative way of saying “a long period of time,” not a literal, physical reign of Jesus Christ on the earth. However, six times in Revelation 20:2-7, the millennial kingdom is specifically said to be 1000 years in length. If God wished to communicate “a long period of time,” He could have easily done so without explicitly and repeatedly mentioning an exact time frame.

The Bible tells us that when Christ returns to earth He will establish Himself as King in Jerusalem, sitting on the throne of David (Luke 1:32-33). The unconditional covenants demand a literal, physical return of Christ to establish the kingdom. The Abrahamic covenant promised Israel a land, a posterity and ruler, and a spiritual blessing (Genesis 12:1-3). The Palestinian covenant promised Israel a restoration to the land and occupation of the land (Deuteronomy 30:1-10). The Davidic covenant promised Israel forgiveness—the means whereby the nation could be blessed (2 Samuel 7:10-13).

At the second coming, these covenants will be fulfilled as Israel is re-gathered from the nations (Matthew 24:31), converted (Zechariah 12:10-14), and restored to the land under the rule of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The Bible speaks of the conditions during the millennium as a perfect environment physically and spiritually. It will be a time of peace (Micah 4:2-4Isaiah 32:17-18), joy (Isaiah 61:710), comfort (Isaiah 40:1-2), and no poverty or sickness (Amos 9:13-15Joel 2:28-29). The Bible also tells us that only believers will enter the millennial kingdom. Because of this, it will be a time of complete righteousness (Matthew 25:37Psalm 24:3-4), obedience (Jeremiah 31:33), holiness (Isaiah 35:8), truth (Isaiah 65:16), and fullness of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-29). Christ will rule as king (Isaiah 9:3-711:1-10), with David as regent (Jeremiah 33:15-21Amos 9:11). Nobles and governors will also rule (Isaiah 32:1Matthew 19:28), and Jerusalem will be the political center of the world (Zechariah 8:3).

Revelation 20:2-7 gives the precise time period of the millennial kingdom. Even without these scriptures, there are countless others that point to a literal reign of the Messiah on the earth. The fulfillment of many of God’s covenants and promises rests on a literal, physical, future kingdom. There is no solid basis to deny the literal interpretation of the millennial kingdom and its duration being 1000 years.

Yes! Jesus is Coming!


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Prophecy Today Q&A: "What is Israel's role in the end times?"

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Question: "What is Israel's role in the end times?"



Answer: 
Every time there is an explosion of conflict in or around Israel, many see it as a sure sign of the quickly approaching end times. The problem with this is that it creates a “boy that cried wolf” syndrome. We may eventually tire of the conflict in Israel, so much so that we will not recognize when true prophetically significant events occur. Conflict in Israel is not necessarily a sign of the end times.

Conflict in Israel has been a reality whenever Israel has existed as a nation. Whether it was the Egyptians, Amalekites, Midianites, Moabites, Ammonites, Amorites, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, or Romans, the nation of Israel has always been surrounded by and persecuted by its neighbors. Why is this? According to the Bible, it is because God has a special plan for the nation of Israel, and Satan wants to defeat that plan. Satanically influenced hatred of Israel—and especially Israel’s God—is the reason Israel’s neighbors have always wanted to see Israel destroyed. Whether it is Sennacherib, king of Assyria; Haman, official of Persia; Hitler, leader of Nazi Germany; or Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, attempts to ultimately destroy Israel will always fail. The persecutors of Israel will come and go, but the persecution will remain until the second coming of Christ. As a result, conflict in Israel cannot be considered a reliable indicator of the soon arrival of the end times.

At the same time, there will be terrible conflict in Israel during the end times. That is why the time period is known as the Tribulation, the Great Tribulation, and the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). Here is what the Bible does say about Israel in the end times:

There will be a mass return of Jews to the land of Israel (Deuteronomy 30:3Isaiah 43:6Ezekiel 34:11-1336:2437:1-14).

The Antichrist will make a 7-year covenant of "peace" with Israel (Isaiah 28:18Daniel 9:27).

The Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem (Daniel 9:27Matthew 24:152 Thessalonians 2:3-4;Revelation 11:1).

The Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel, and worldwide persecution of Israel will result (Daniel 9:2712:111Zechariah 11:16Matthew 24:1521Revelation 12:13). Israel will be invaded (Ezekiel chapters 38-39).

Israel will finally recognize Jesus as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10). Israel will be regenerated, restored, and regathered (Jeremiah 33:8Ezekiel 11:17Romans 11:26).

There is much turmoil in Israel today. Israel is persecuted, surrounded by enemies—the Palestinians, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, etc. But this hatred and persecution of Israel is only a hint of what will happen in the end times (Matthew 24:15-21). The latest round of persecution began when Israel was reconstituted as a nation in 1948. Many Bible prophecy scholars believed the six-day Arab-Israeli war in 1967 was the "beginning of the end." Could what is taking place in Israel today indicate that the end is near? Yes. Does it necessarily mean the end is near? No. Jesus Himself said it best, "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come" (Matthew 24:4-6).

Yes! Jesus is Coming!


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Prophecy Today Q&A: ""Who are the 144,000?""

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Question: "Who are the 144,000?"



Answer: 
The book of Revelation has always presented the interpreter with challenges. The book is steeped in vivid imagery and symbolism which people have interpreted differently depending on their preconceptions of the book as a whole. There are four main interpretive approaches to the book of Revelation: 1) preterist (which sees all or most of the events in Revelation as having already occurred by the end of the 1st century); 2) historicist (which sees Revelation as a survey of church history from apostolic times to the present); 3) idealist (which sees Revelation as a depiction of the struggle between good and evil); 4) futurist (which sees Revelation as prophecy of events to come). Of the four, only the futurist approach interprets Revelation in the same grammatical-historical method as the rest of Scripture. It is also a better fit with Revelation’s own claim to be prophecy (Revelation 1:3;22:7101819).

So the answer to the question “who are the 144,000?” will depend on which interpretive approach you take to the book of Revelation. With the exception of the futurist approach, all of the other approaches interpret the 144,000 symbolically, as representative of the church and the number 144,000 being symbolic of the totality—i.e., the complete number—of the church. Yet when taken at face value: “Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel” (Revelation 7:4), nothing in the passage leads to interpreting the 144,000 as anything but a literal number of Jews—12,000 taken from every tribe of the “sons of Israel.” The New Testament offers no clear cut text replacing Israel with the church.

These Jews are “sealed,” which means they have the special protection of God from all of the divine judgments and from the Antichrist to perform their mission during the tribulation period (seeRevelation 6:17, in which people will wonder who can stand from the wrath to come). The tribulation period is a future seven-year period of time in which God will enact divine judgment against those who reject Him and will complete His plan of salvation for the nation of Israel. All of this is according to God’s revelation to the prophet Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27). The 144,000 Jews are a sort of “first fruits” (Revelation 14:4) of a redeemed Israel which has been previously prophesied (Zechariah 12:10;Romans 11:25-27), and their mission is to evangelize the post-rapture world and proclaim the gospel during the tribulation period. As a result of their ministry, millions—“a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language” (Revelation 7:9)—will come to faith in Christ.

Much of the confusion regarding the 144,000 is a result of the false doctrine of the Jehovah's Witnesses. The Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that 144,000 is a limit to the number of people who will reign with Christ in heaven and spend eternity with God. The 144,000 have what the Jehovah’s Witnesses call the heavenly hope. Those who are not among the 144,000 will enjoy what they call the earthly hope—a paradise on earth ruled by Christ and the 144,000. Clearly, we can see that Jehovah’s Witness teaching sets up a caste society in the afterlife with a ruling class (the 144,000) and those who are ruled. The Bible teaches no such “dual class” doctrine. It is true that according toRevelation 20:4 there will be people ruling in the millennium with Christ. These people will be comprised of the church (believers in Jesus Christ), Old Testament saints (believers who died before Christ’s first advent), and tribulation saints (those who accept Christ during the tribulation). Yet the Bible places no numerical limit on this group of people. Furthermore, the millennium is different from the eternal state, which will take place at the completion of the millennial period. At that time, God will dwell with us in the New Jerusalem. He will be our God and we will be His people (Revelation 21:3). The inheritance promised to us in Christ and sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14) will become ours, and we will all be co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).

Yes! Jesus is Coming!


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Prophecy Today Q&A: "What is the mark of the beast (666)?"

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Question: "What is the mark of the beast (666)?"



Answer
The main passage in the Bible that mentions the “mark of the beast” is Revelation 13:15-18. Other references can be found in Revelation 14:91115:216:219:20, and 20:4. This mark acts as a seal for the followers of Antichrist and the false prophet (the spokesperson for the Antichrist). The false prophet (the second beast) is the one who causes people to take this mark. The mark is literally placed in the hand or forehead and is not simply a card someone carries.

The recent breakthroughs in medical implant chip and RFID technologies have increased interest in the mark of the beast spoken of in Revelation chapter 13. It is possible that the technology we are seeing today represents the beginning stages of what may eventually be used as the mark of the beast. It is important to realize that a medical implant chip is not the mark of the beast. The mark of the beast will be something given only to those who worship the Antichrist. Having a medical or financial microchip inserted into your right hand or forehead is not the mark of the beast. The mark of the beast will be an end-times identification required by the Antichrist in order to buy or sell, and it will be given only to those who worship the Antichrist.

Many good expositors of Revelation differ widely as to the exact nature of the mark of the beast. Besides the implanted chip view, other speculations include an ID card, a microchip, a barcode that is tattooed into the skin, or simply a mark that identifies someone as being faithful to the Antichrist's kingdom. This last view requires the least speculation, since it does not add any more information to what the Bible gives us. In other words, any of these things are possible, but at the same time they are all speculations. We should not spend a lot of time speculating on the precise details.

The meaning of 666 is a mystery as well. Some have speculated that there was a connection to June 6, 2006—06/06/06. However, in Revelation chapter 13, the number 666 identifies a person, not a date. Revelation 13:18 tells us, “This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.” Somehow, the number 666 will identify the Antichrist. For centuries Bible interpreters have been trying to identify certain individuals with 666. Nothing is conclusive. That is why Revelation 13:18 says the number requires wisdom. When the Antichrist is revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), it will be clear who he is and how the number 666 identifies him.

Yes! Jesus is Coming!


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Prophecy Today Q&A: ""What is the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming?"

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Question: "What is the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming?"



Answer: 
The rapture and the second coming of Christ are often confused. Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether a scripture verse is referring to the rapture or the second coming. However, in studying end-times Bible prophecy, it is very important to differentiate between the two.

The rapture is when Jesus Christ returns to remove the church (all believers in Christ) from the earth. The rapture is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-54. Believers who have died will have their bodies resurrected and, along with believers who are still living, will meet the Lord in the air. This will all occur in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye. The second coming is when Jesus returns to defeat the Antichrist, destroy evil, and establish His millennial kingdom. The second coming is described in Revelation 19:11-16.

The important differences between the rapture and second coming are as follows:

1) At the rapture, believers meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17). At the second coming, believers return with the Lord to the earth (Revelation 19:14).

2) The second coming occurs after the great and terrible tribulation (Revelation chapters 6–19). The rapture occurs before the tribulation (1 Thessalonians 5:9Revelation 3:10).

3) The rapture is the removal of believers from the earth as an act of deliverance (1 Thessalonians 4:13-175:9). The second coming includes the removal of unbelievers as an act of judgment (Matthew 24:40-41).

4) The rapture will be secret and instant (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). The second coming will be visible to all (Revelation 1:7Matthew 24:29-30).

5) The second coming of Christ will not occur until after certain other end-times events take place (2 Thessalonians 2:4Matthew 24:15-30; Revelation chapters 6–18). The rapture is imminent; it could take place at any moment (Titus 2:131 Thessalonians 4:13-181 Corinthians 15:50-54).

Why is it important to keep the rapture and the second coming distinct?

1) If the rapture and the second coming are the same event, believers will have to go through the tribulation (1 Thessalonians 5:9Revelation 3:10).

2) If the rapture and the second coming are the same event, the return of Christ is not imminent—there are many things which must occur before He can return (Matthew 24:4-30).

3) In describing the tribulation period, Revelation chapters 6–19 nowhere mentions the church. During the tribulation—also called “the time of trouble for Jacob” (Jeremiah 30:7)—God will again turn His primary attention to Israel (Romans 11:17-31).

The rapture and second coming are similar but separate events. Both involve Jesus returning. Both are end-times events. However, it is crucially important to recognize the differences. In summary, the rapture is the return of Christ in the clouds to remove all believers from the earth before the time of God’s wrath. The second coming is the return of Christ to the earth to bring the tribulation to an end and to defeat the Antichrist and his evil world empire.

Yes! Jesus is Coming!


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Prophecy Today Q&A: ""What is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?""

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Question: "What is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?"



Answer: 
The second coming of Jesus Christ is the hope of believers that God is in control of all things, and is faithful to the promises and prophecies in His Word. In His first coming, Jesus Christ came to earth as a baby in a manger in Bethlehem, just as prophesied. Jesus fulfilled many of the prophecies of the Messiah during His birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection. However, there are some prophecies regarding the Messiah that Jesus has not yet fulfilled. The second coming of Christ will be the return of Christ to fulfill these remaining prophecies. In His first coming, Jesus was the suffering Servant. In His second coming, Jesus will be the conquering King. In His first coming, Jesus arrived in the most humble of circumstances. In His second coming, Jesus will arrive with the armies of heaven at His side.

The Old Testament prophets did not make clearly this distinction between the two comings. This can be seen in Isaiah 7:149:6-7 and Zechariah 14:4. As a result of the prophecies seeming to speak of two individuals, many Jewish scholars believed there would be both a suffering Messiah and a conquering Messiah. What they failed to understand is that there is only one Messiah and He would fulfill both roles. Jesus fulfilled the role of the suffering servant (Isaiah chapter 53) in His first coming. Jesus will fulfill the role of Israel’s deliverer and King in His second coming. Zechariah 12:10 andRevelation 1:7, describing the second coming, look back to Jesus being pierced. Israel, and the whole world, will mourn for not having accepted the Messiah the first time He came.

After Jesus ascended into heaven, the angels declared to the apostles, “‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven’” (Acts 1:11). Zechariah 14:4 identifies the location of the second coming as the Mount of Olives. Matthew 24:30 declares, “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.” Titus 2:13 describes the second coming as a “glorious appearing.”

The second coming is spoken of in greatest detail in Revelation 19:11-16, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Yes! Jesus is Coming!


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Prophecy Today Q&A: ""Have any aspects of end times prophecy been fulfilled?"

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Question: "Have any aspects of end times prophecy been fulfilled?"

 

Answer: 
Revelation 4:1 introduces a section of Scripture that details “things which must be hereafter.” What follows are prophecies of the “end times.” We have not yet reached the tribulation, the revelation of the Antichrist, or other “end-time” events. What we do see is a “preparation” for those events.

Jesus said that the last days would be preceded by several things: many false Christs would come, deceiving many; we would “hear of wars and rumors of wars”; and there would be an increase in “famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:5-8). Today’s news is full of false religions, warfare, and natural disasters. We know that events of the tribulation period will include all that Jesus predicted (Revelation 6:1-8); current events seem to be a build-up for greater trouble ahead.

Paul warned that the last days would bring a marked increase in false teaching. “In later times, some will abandon the faith, and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). The last days are described as “perilous times” because of the increasingly evil character of man and people who actively “oppose the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1-9; also see 2 Thessalonians 2:3). The list of things people will be in the last days—lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power— (2 Timothy 3:1-2) seems to fit our modern age exactly.

Can there be any doubt that the prophecies concerning apostasy are being fulfilled? Our 21st-century world has embraced moral relativism, a philosophy which is tainting even the church. For example, many denominations are having a hard time defining marriage as being between one man and one woman, and many religious leaders today are openly supporting homosexuality. The Bible has become subordinate to the modern church’s quest for a more appealing “truth.” These are indeed “perilous times” spiritually.

The formation of the European Union—and the fact that we have a reunified Germany—is very interesting in light of biblical prophecy. The “ten toes” of Daniel 2:42 and the ten-horned beasts ofDaniel 7:20 and Revelation 13:1 are references to a “revived” Roman Empire which will hold power before Christ returns. Although the precise political structure has yet to be formed, the pieces can be seen as falling into place.

In 1948, Israel was recognized as a sovereign state, and this, too, has ramifications for the student of Scripture. God promised Abram that his posterity would have Canaan as “an everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8), and Ezekiel prophesied a physical and spiritual resuscitation of Israel (Ezekiel 37). Having Israel as a nation in its own land is important in light of end-time prophecy, because of Israel’s prominence in eschatology (Daniel 10:1411:41Revelation 11:8).

While there is no biblical proof that the things mentioned above are the fulfillment of specific end-times prophecies, we can see how many of these events are similar to what the Bible describes. In any case, we are to be watching for these signs because Jesus told us that the day of the Lord—His return for His own—would come like a thief in the night (2 Peter 3:10), unexpected and unannounced. “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36).

Yes! Jesus is Coming!


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